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We all know how tight of a space when an airplane is full, let alone the amount of leg space in the economy section. When you add disability into the mix, the overall experience sounds uncomfortable and inconvenient. If you are a wheelchair user, do not let this hesitate you from traveling There are certain accommodations that an airline company could do to make your trip as comfortable and convenient as possible.
Booking the Right Airline
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) applies to all U.S airlines. This means all domestic and international flights with the U.S as the origin or destination are required to provide free of charge accommodations to those with disabilities. Be sure to do some research on which airlines does the best job at accommodating needs. Some do a much better job than others. There are certain policies that each airline that you may need to adhere when traveling with a wheelchair or a mobility device.
Picking the Right Seat
There may be some restrictions to certain type of seats that you may be able to sit in. In order to find a seat that that is suitable for you, there are websites that tells you the airline seat maps. SeatGuru, by Travel Advisor, tells you which seat to avoid, the amount of legroom, and so much more.
If you want to make any special request, contact your airline after you purchase your ticket to let them know. It is best to let the airline know again even when their online reservation has a section for you to check the box for “special request”.
Before you head to the airport, make sure you tag your wheelchair so it does not get lost. You do not want it to be missing when you arrive to your destination.
At the Airport
When you are at the airport, you may check in or bring your wheelchair with you on the plane. Manual wheelchairs are allow to be stow on-board the plane. Power wheelchair or large mobility device with battery will be taken to the cargo area. Once you reach to your destination, your wheelchair or mobility device will be returned to you. If necessary, you may request to use the airline’s wheelchair before boarding the plane.
People with wheelchairs are the first one to board the plane. You will be transported to the seat by an aisle wheelchair. Once you are all seated, relax and enjoy the ride.